“Shift Work Maladaption Syndrome or Shift Work Sleep Disorder is where shift work is leaving the worker so sleepy that they fear for their safety on the job” – Beverly Beuermann-King
**Stress and Shift Work
- Before the light bulb few people worked outside of daylight hours.
-Now nearly 20% of employees in industrialized countries are employed in shift work.
-Shift work can take a huge toll on the workers and their families.
-If not handled properly, it can in fact cause the company more than they may have bargained or budgeted for through accidents, absenteeism and lowered productivity.
**What causes shift stress?
-Working at night – The body’s biological clock tries to reset itself around 3-4:00 a.m. and if you are awake this process is interrupted. Performing routine tasks becomes more difficult, reaction times are slowed and judgment is diminished
-Bad shift scheduling – Problems could result from rotation conflict, not enough time in between or not enough time on a particular shift to allow complete adjustment
-Lack of quality sleep – Interruptions, sleeping pills, and other activities may interfere with the type of sleep a person may get
-Dehydration – Failure to pay attention to the need for water can lead to dry mouth, headaches, blood pressure problems etc.
-Workplace environment – Poor lighting, monotonous background noise and lack of a stimulating activity can have a sedating effect
-Being a lark vs. an owl type person
**The Relaxation Response
-The relaxation response is the rest and digest part of the nervous system.
-It basically undoes the work of the stress response after a stressful situation.
-The relaxation response happens when we feel safe, nurtured or taken care of.
-It can block effects from your body’s response to stress.
-This is good for your mental and physical health.
**Effective Relaxation Techniques
-The most effective relaxation technique is one that works for you!
-Different relaxation techniques will help different people at different times.
-What works for you this week, may not work next week.
-But it might work again next month.
-Our needs vary and so it’s important to have a toolbox of relaxation techniques to help you on a regular basis.